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Thread: Fraud or Art

  1. #1
    blansky's Avatar
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    Fraud or Art

    This page was cut out of The Professional Photographer Sept 205 edition. The Professional Photographer is the trade magazine and premier magazine of professional portrait photographers and is a magazine published by the main organization that professional photographers of portrait, wedding and possibly product photographers belong to. It is the magazine published by the Professional Photographers of America.

    Virtually all portrait and most wedding photographers belong to this organization and the "Loan Collection" is a collection of top, highly rated by judges of their peers, photographs that are judged during their yearly national conventions. The Loan Collection then travels for a year throughout the country for the public to see.

    With all that out of the way, I would like to hear peoples opinions on the ethics of what has been shown and described here. THIS IS NOT AN ANTI DIGITAL THREAD.

    What we have is a photographer who, "didn't want to bother the Amish", dressing people up to look Amish. Then he "did some minor retouching" by moving the fake Amish to the other side of the road because it looked better, and because he obviously didn't think to do it when he shot it.

    Then to top it off, one of the judges gives it high acclaim, in the box at the bottom.

    My problem is, this thing is a fraud from top to bottom, and is acclaimed by the top photographic association for pro portraits types, to be a great work.

    Your opinion?.....

    The shadow on the picture is from a picture on the other side of the page.



    Michael
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fraud4.jpg  
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  2. #2
    BruceN's Avatar
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    Perhaps they should create a new award for "best fiction."

    Of course, any photograph can be said to have a bit of fiction in it, but this seems to be more in the Hollywood tradition than most.

    Bruce

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    The thing that disturbs me the most about this is the staging, given that there are some serious documentaries about the Amish where photographers have had to gain the confidence of the subjects by getting to know them, and to agree to photograph subjects in profile or from behind in many cases. It seems like he just didn't want to do the ethnographic work. This is just a cheap shot in every sense.

  4. #4
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    A great example of Victorian Sentimental Pictorialist Genre Illustration.

    The PPA still promotes this kind of decadent b.s ?

    Rubbish. They should've just painted it.

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  5. #5
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    Funny how the mantra "it's the final image that counts, not the process" sounds particularly hollow in this situation. Apparently the PPPA subscribes fully to that idea. I think it's unethical for a photograph to be made that way, though I'd have no problem with a comparable painting. I know photographs have been manipulated since forever, (it's certainly not new) but the ease and efficiency of it with photoshop makes it all the more tempting, and as we all know from the recent MAS threads, moral relativism rules.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  6. #6
    CPorter's Avatar
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    Just a huge abscense of integrity. There is a difference between "staging" a scene (implies deception) and "posing" a photograph (doesn't imply anything).

    CP

  7. #7

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    I agree with David, many cheap shortcuts were made both with the image and with researching and understanding the real subjects. It reminds about an article I read concerning a similar subject and when the author found out it was a computer assisted creation said "Nice work Photoshop".

    Michael, I like the filename you assigned to the attachment

    --John

  8. #8
    laz
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    I think it is incredibly ironic that the judge is quoted as saying the dress of the mother and children speak to the life choices they have made!

    It is absurd for this work to be awarded anything anywhere let alone by this reputable organization!
    [SIZE=1]I want everything Galli has![/SIZE]
    [SIZE=1]I want to make images like Gandolfi![/SIZE]
    rlazell@optonline.net

  9. #9

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    it all just depedns on cotnext. If someone was trying to pass this off as photojournalism it's rather unethical.

    If it's advertising, portrait or whatever else, who cares - it's all fiction? To think otherwise is simply naive

    What's the difference between this and Julia Cameron dressing her servants up as figures from Greek mythology or whatever

    All photographs are fictions. The likes of photojournalism or scientific or scenes of crimes photography rely entirely on the integritiy of the photographer in their work of conveying a certain number of facts.


    (Add to that whole "judges" comments PPA thing is stuck in some 19th centry salon/camera club thing and has been for aeons, what dop you expect).

  10. #10
    blansky's Avatar
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    I've thought about this and other works that have been created, staged, etc and I have asked myself why I care.

    I look at a picture and "experience" it and mentally decide if I like it. If I don't like it I mentally discard it and move on. If I do like it I kind of absorb it into my being or self, much like an experience that I had in real life. To give an example use Migrant Mother. You look and experience the picture and the times and the emotion of the picture. If you're a photographer you experience the methods or technicals involved. You allow an emotional experience to take over your body.

    If you were to look at a da Vinci painting and "experienced" it and later found out that it was a copy, you would feel cheated. (Of course not half as much as the poor schmuch who paid for it).

    But now it gets interesting. If it was a good enough to fool the experts, it must be a great painting even thought it wasn't da Vinci's. So are you really experiencing what was on the canvas or are you buying into the celebrity. And if you never found out it was a fake, you would not feel cheated.

    So I guess the question or dilemma is, concerning the Amish thing, if you never knew it was faked, would you like the picture. And since you found out it is faked why is it that you feel cheated?

    Perhaps it is the fact that when we experience something, then find out it is not real, we have allowed ourselves to becone emotionally involved, and now feel that we are cheated of that emotional feeling.

    Perhaps it's that human beings resent being manipulated.


    Your comments?


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

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